How can you be a better leader?

Plus: Y Combinator invites alumni investment

Yay, it's Monday, which means it's time for another Tech Creator. Let's dive in!


Alumni investment welcomed by Y Combinator

Y Combinator says that alums are more than welcome to invest in new funds.

Any start-up would know Y Combinator. They are a company that was launched in 2005 by Paul Graham, Robert Morris, Jessica Livingston, and Trevor Blackwell, and are currently based in Mountain View, California. 

Y Combinator is a startup accelerator program that, in a nutshell, invests in a start-up in exchange for a percentage of equity. 

They run their program twice a year (January-March and June-August) and offer every start-up the same deal: they invest $125,000 for 7% equity in each start-up/company.

When we say “alumni”, we all think of the same things: students who have graduated from an academic organization. 

This is a very similar situation. Y Combinator’s alums are basically start-ups they have invested in that have “graduated’. 

Some of their notable alumni are Reddit, Airbnb, Stripe, Webflow, Dropbox, Instacard, Coinbase, Doordash, and Twitch.

So, what’s the deal?

It’s quite simple— both alums and funds are important to keep Y Combinator going. 

The company has since invited its alumni (specifically limited partners) to invest in all three of the funds that they are currently working to raise.

How does this work?

For starters, Y Combinator’s Alumni must invest at least $250,000 total, which will then be split among three funds.

  • One of the funds will focus on initial checks into Y Combinator’s next four cohorts of program participants,

  • Another will look at any additional capital that was committed,

  • The final is aimed at making additional seed, pro rata investments, bridge rounds, and other special situations.

While it is uncertain which fund is which and how big they are (Forbes reported that the company is aiming for $2 billion), Y Combinator has announced that the first two funds will start releasing capital later this year and go on for two years, while the third will start immediately (this month) and last for three years.

The capital from the alumni’s investment will be split across the funds as follows: 10%, 28%, and 62%.

In conclusion, we can say that alumni investments are currently really important for Y Combinator.


Artificial Intelligence and 3 questions HR leaders must ask

AI is rapidly finding its way into different job functions, including HR, but the question is, how can we use it to our best intentions?

The scoop

HR leaders and executives in Silicon Valley were joined by the CEO of Data Scientific, Cassie Kozyrkov for the Society of Human Resources Management’s (SHRM) AI + HI Project event. 

During the event, Kozyrkov told people that AI applications in the professional world are really good at “the copy-paste work, digitized and repetitive.” These AIs, according to her, can easily replace a lot of tasks, many of which are currently dominated by women. But women aren’t the only ones at risk.

According to Slack’s Workforce Lab, it was found that desk workers are at risk too, as AI tools can now tackle those kinds of tasks easily. 

She also says that most of the fresh graduates, or people who are new to their work are facing the pressure to use AI tools because employers aren’t trusting them. This leads to them losing important early experiences.

Here, Kozyrkov concludes that while AI is capable of really helping people at their jobs, we must make sure to work alongside it correctly.

How is this important for HR?

Cassie Kozyrkov says that AI is still capable of making mistakes, so they must be given the correct prompts and questions to ensure that they deliver the best, most accurate results. 

In the midst of rising recruiting AI tech and AI tools, she warns HR professionals to make sure that they ask the right questions. 

What are the questions to ask?

While there are no set rules, and while she acknowledges that all experts may not agree, here are the three questions Cassie Kozyrkov says an HR professional must ask before deciding on their preferred AI tools:

  1. The “objective” question: What is it for? How is success defined and scored?

  1. The “data” question: What data is it using? How was it collected and processed?

  1. The “testing” question: How do we know it works? How was this tested?


Acting early is crucial for sales

It can be hard to be a leader, especially a SaaS Sales Leader.

Dealing with underperformance can seem daunting, and most would want to delay doing so with their underachieving team member for as long as they can, because confrontation isn’t easy. 

Plus, when a sales staff, or any staff for that matter, underperforms, they then face a decrease in morale and could possibly bring the whole team down. 

This is why it is important for a sales leader to keep his pack in check, at all times.

It’s important to act quick

There are many reasons as to why a team member can underperform, and it is the job of a sales leader to discover why. Finding out the reason behind their decline, and doing this quickly could save your business a lot.

Allowing staff to underperform for a long period of time could be seriously detrimental to a company’s growth, especially if said staff is in the sales team. 

Utilizing data

Everyone has emotions, but one must control when it comes to facing underperformance. A leader should use data to measure and gauge performance, which in turn, could help them guide their team members better. 

For example, if the data shows that a particular team member faces dropouts at a certain stage of sale, then they could dive deeper into the problem and solve it together. 


On top of acting quickly and utilizing data, a sales leader must also communicate. In fact, over-communicate whenever necessary. 

If you’re going to re-evaluate a team member’s performance, this will raise questions and stir emotions in them. Be sure to communicate your concerns and performance plan well.

Remember to always act quickly. If you notice a team member struggling at the start, don’t wait to see if they will improve. Talk to them early and see how you can help them navigate. 

And if the underperformance is too severe, it is also paramount for you, as a sales leader, to help them relocate towards a more suitable opportunity.

Latest tech news

Tech Throwback: April 16, 1972

On April 16, 1972, Apollo 16, the fifth of six U.S. lunar landing missions, departed for the moon. 

The mission was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Apollo 16, and was said to be a 238,000-mile journey. 

A few days later, on April 20th, astronauts John W. Young and Charles M. Duke set foot on the lunar surface from the command module. The command module remained in orbit around the mood, with astronaut Thomas K. Mattingly on board. 

Young and Duke remained on the surface to explore for three days, and collected 200 pounds of rock before they returned to command module on the 23rd of April. All three astronauts made it back to Earth safe and sound. 

We can’t wait for mankind’s next trip to the moon. 

And that’s a wrap. We’ll catch you next week!